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Leeds and a Day of Kindnesses

We have passes for the trains, which means we can just get on any train we want. Now the downside is-- we can get on any train we want, so we could end up in Scotland if we're not careful. We've thrown ourselves on the mercy of the other passengers today. After a brief conference with passengers sitting in a train on a platform in Cambridge that was headed to King's Cross in London (which included a man with a smart phone looking up schedules, and a discussion with his two traveling companions about the virtues of being routed through Petersborough and York, or taking the London train), we decided to go with the known quantity. So back to King's Cross in London. The amusing thing, of course, is that Shelly and I will be staying at a hotel right next to that station. So my trip to England is just one long flirtation with this train station.

Nice weather for the trip with the sun peeping out occasionally. We saw bright fields of red and yellow wild flowers all along the way. The funny thing about watching the south of England slide by outside the train window, is how much it looks like Oklahoma or northern Indiana— well except for the old village churches with stone steeples that appear with regularity dotted along the countryside.

Chocolate Explosion

After a satisfying sit down at a coffee shop with free wifi in King's Cross, we made our way to the platform for Leeds. Not paying attention, I kicked a full cup of very thick, hot chocolate that someone had sat on the ground in the middle of the walkway. It coated my shoe and pant leg in chocolate goo. The bright side was that it didn't go in my shoe. That's it— if you're wanting more silver-lining than that, just move along— there is only so sanguine that one can be about a chocolate explosion.

The Kindness of Strangers

With a bit of hunting about after the taxi dropped us on the University of Leeds campus (never as happy an activity while dragging a 50lb suitcase with a chocolate soggy leg), we picked up our registration packets and keys in Lyddon Hall. The splendid, splendid woman at the counter, took us round to the walkup where we are staying. A maintenance man who was working in the foyer overheard our gasps as the lady told us we were on the third floor and that there were no elevators. We were making plans to make several trips and to perhaps carry each suitcase up with the two of us hanging on to it, but the man just picked up my suitcase and followed us up, then went back down and got Erin's as well.

When we went back to the hall to get instructions for doing laundry (see chocolate explosion for explanation of laundry trip being uppermost in my mind), the lady at the counter just trotted us on over to the facility and explained how everything worked. Did I mention how very gracious everyone here has been to us?

Lyddon Hall

So the main "house" that houses the dorm registration desk, is a giant old Victorian house. The splendid lady told us that it had been commandeered during WWII and that soldiers had been brought back to it to recover. There's a reunion of Lyddon Hall men scheduled for the week after our medieval conference. The men are in their 80s and 90s now, but have been coming back all these years. They've formed a trust to fund scholarships for the students who now live in the dorms. When those men went to WWII they were the ages of the students now. What generous-hearted men to give money for books, school, and trips.

I'm sitting here listening to church bells ringing in the distance, watching the sun slowly set and feeling what a good day it has been. Safe travels, yellow flowers, Indian food for dinner, kind people, good stories. Tomorrow we're off on one of the Leed's Conference's "Excursions." We'll be visting two Ricardian era castles: Sheriff Hutton and Helmsley. So tomorrows pics will be more medievally.

Pics and Thoughts:

Back at King's Cross in London
Back at King's Cross in London
One of the ways to get from Cambridge to Leeds, is to go back to London. And that's what we did. Sat and had coffee at King's Cross waiting for our train to Leeds.
Earl of Grantham?
Earl of Grantham?
One of the stations that we passed through on the way to Leeds. Downtown Abbey fans needed to know.
Fields covered in flowers
Fields covered in flowers
Toilet at Leeds 30p
Toilet at Leeds 30p
Now all countries are horrified by other countries toilets. Paying 30 pence is the American moment of horror.
Our Dorm
Our Dorm
We're on the third floor. (My window is right above the front door.)
Successful Laundering II
Successful Laundering II
The splendid lady at the desk took us around, helped us figure it all out, and sold us washing powder.